Namine is out of the cardiac ICU and on a general care floor. Still in the hospital, sure, but here it’s a little less stressful. The lack of constant beeping plays a part, I think, but mostly it’s just knowing how well Namine is doing. And, of course, how close we are to going home.

Every day Namine’s appetite gets closer to what it was before surgery. I’m sure that gets old after hearing pretty much the same thing every night, but believe me, it could be worse. When I was talking with the doctors during rounds, they told me that most post-Fontan kids actually don’t regain nearly as much of their appetite while still in the hospital. So in that regard, she’s doing better than ever.

Before I tucked Namine in for the night, she was showing me how she can hold Unicornia above her head. One arm, then two arms. Her range of motion is not what it was – especially in her right arm, where it has always been less, due to multiple PICC line placements in that shoulder. But the effort she puts into moving those arms, and that smile. Putting pain and discomfort aside, and shining brighter than the sun, that smile!

Namine is asleep now; she has been for some time. Now that we’re here on this observation floor, away from the beeping, beeping, beeping, I can hear what I’ve missed: the sound of her breathing. Behind all the noise of the cardiac floor, that soft, smooth sound has been waiting to be heard once again. Asleep, Namine’s breathing is calm; soft, like cloth running across cloth. Peaceful. Hopeful. Speeding her (though hopefully not too fast) toward the light of a new day.